Neo-Ijtihād in the Modern Legal Studies: A Case Study of Al-Qaradāwī’s Concept of Neo-Ijtihād
Shaykh Yūsuf ʿAbd Allah al-Qaraḍāwī is a notable erudite Islamic legist (faqīh) in the contemporary Islamic world of the fifteenth century after Hijrah. His rich and wide scholarship and intelligibility have immensely benefitted the Muslim world. He is, most of the time, a controversial scholar as a result of his preference of situational Neo-Ijtihād to traditional juristic approaches of medieval legists. This has indeed created an interesting landmark in the contemporary development of various areas of Islamic law and jurisprudence which calls for thorough research. The objective of this paper is to examine the opinion of al-Qaraḍāwī on neo-Ijtihād. This study explores the legal position of Ijtihād and Neo-Ijtihād in the contemporary Islamic legal system and al-Qaraḍāwī’s approach to the necessity, methodology and employment of Neo-Ijtihād in the modern day Islamic legal theory. He premises this on a certain legal assumption of Tajdīd al-Fiqh. The research methods used in this study are expository, descriptive and analytical. This research paper concludes that the situational jurisprudential issues should be better handled by contemporary seasoned Islamic jurists who are fully aware of the situation and circumstances surrounding the issues in relation to time and place. Also, the researcher maintains that this paper could be used as a reference to prove that contemporary jurisprudential issues are limited by time and are geographically binding, and thus medieval juristic materials would be lacking in addressing them.